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by Madhur Jaffrey Clarkson N. Potter, 1999 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Dec 8th 2002
Many vegetarians who enjoy food
from Asia will be familiar with Jaffreys earlier books, such as the
Taste of the Far East, An
Invitation to Indian Cooking, and closest to this the present book
under review, World-of-the-East
Vegetarian Cooking, which included recipes from India, Bali, Japan,
China and both the Middle East and the Far East.While her recipes in that compendious book were excellent, they
often required ingredients that are hard to find in most supermarkets and are
even difficult to locate in a specialty store.World Vegetarian is even larger in scope than the earlier book,
with recipes from all over the globe.It is also easier to use since it uses ingredients that are normally
available in good quality supermarkets and most International food stores.
At 758 pages, with another 16 pages
of color plates showing some of the meals and ingredients, World Vegetarian will
be extremely useful to anyone with an adventurous palate who is interested in
vegetarian food.The book is divided
into six main chapters organized by main ingredients, with a final chapter on
equipment, glossary and resources, and a fair index.Each chapter is organized by main ingredient, and for each
ingredient, Jaffrey provides a page or two about the countries in which it is
used, what forms it comes in, and how to cook it.Each recipe is listed with its country of origin, its name in the
countrys native language, a short comment on the recipe, a list of ingredients
(using quantity measurements of cups, pounds, ounces, tablespoons and
teaspoons, with vegetables mostly classified as small, medium or large), and
instructions about how to prepare the food, along with a number of how many
people the dish serves.The preparation
instructions are clearly written and so are easy to follow.There is no information about the calories,
fat content, or nutritional value of the recipe.Most of the recipes are vegan.
I cant pretend to have prepared or
even tried many of the more than 650 recipes.Those that I have tried were excellent.The variety of cuisines is somewhat overwhelming, and it helps to open
the book already with some idea of what kind of recipe one is looking for. For example, one might want to try some food
from Pakistan (although I note that not all the Pakistani recipes are listed in
the Index).Or one might have a
hankering for greens, and then one would go to the Vegetables chapter and
browse through the greens section, which has 22 recipes, classified as being
from India, Chinese-American, Italy/United States, Tuscany, China, Sri Lanka,
Turkey, Spain, Trinidad/India, Japan/Korea/United States, and Greece.Maybe one is in the mood for soup: Jaffrey
gives many recipes, from a relatively simple Madras Curried Tomato Soup (India)
or a Simple Red Lentil Soup (Turkey) to a surprising Cold Almond Soup (Spain),
a light Indonesian Corn Soup, or a hearty Costa Rican Black Bean Soup.
While this is probably not the best
book for those just starting to cook for themselves, it is suitable for anyone
with a little experience in the kitchen who is ready to experiment.The collection of recipes is wonderful, and
is bound to provide new ideas to even the most experienced cook.For those who enjoy cooking and eating
vegetarian food, World Vegetarian will be a delight.Highly recommended.
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is
Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is
editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in psychiatry. He is especially interested in exploring
how philosophers can play a greater role in public life, and he is keen to help
foster communication between philosophers, mental health professionals, and the
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